The Central Mall Group, who owns many of the biggest malls in Thailand including Central Festival in Pattaya, has sent a letter to vendor and retail partners asking them to “prepare” for the possibility of opening on May 1.
The Pattaya News notes that this is strictly the company speaking to their own staff and NOT an official government announcement on re-opening of malls or guarantee that stores and shops in malls will re-open on this date.
The letter asks for vendor and retail partners to report for meetings on April 28th at their place of employment to prepare for the possibility of opening and to discuss improved hygiene and safety standards to take place if they are indeed allowed to re-open per the Thai Government. Some of these expected measures include hand sanitizer in place at every store, potential temperature checks, wearing of masks and perhaps limiting the number of clients in stores at the same time.
Most malls have been closed for nearly a month in Thailand. Thailand has seen significant reduction in infections and Covid-19 cases, with many provinces across the country having no cases in several weeks. This comes as millions of people are out of work across the Kingdom and voices are growing online to re-open many closed businesses and allow people to return to employment. Re-opening of retail shops, regardless of lack of international tourists, will allow many furloughed employees to return to a steady income.
The economic situation has been steadily worsening with the closure of many businesses in Thailand, with lines at charity events stretching into the thousands causing the Government to break up some of the larger donation events and issue guidelines for others. 27 million people, 24 million more than expected, applied for 5000 baht a month financial assistance to the Thai Government, showing that the problem with unemployment, especially in the informal sector (Such as hostesses in bars) was significantly higher than expected by the Thai Government.
The Chonburi Governor has previously stated that as long as the situation continues to improve the plan is to re-open some businesses on May 1. This is, of course, dependent on the National situation and the Emergency Decree, which is due to be reviewed at the end of this month for potential renewal.
The Thai Government has stated that they will not be looking at detailed measures for possibly re-opening closed businesses until the last week of this month and they will be highly dependent on the overall Covid-19 situation. Additionally, the CCSA, The Covid19 Center for Situation Administration, has stated that re-opening, if it happens, would require many strict measures to ensure social distancing and proper hygiene.